Port Augusta was well represented in the Spencer Regional Academy, with 10 members of the squad hitting the Central Oval courts on a weekly basis.
The squad of 19 spent three days in Adelaide last week, playing the best-of-the-best from across the state in the Mellor Olsen Academy Games.
More than 250 athletes showcased their skills at Priceline Stadium.
Spencer Academy entered a team in divisions two and three, with both sides putting on an impressive display of Upper North tenacity.
Division two rounded out the day with a Grand Final birth, but were narrowly defeated by Adelaide Metro in the second half. The only team they lost to in the minor round.
Division three just missed out on finals, battling a spate sickness and injuries.
Coach Beaudine Dalla Santa couldn’t be more proud of the squad’s effort.
“They definitely gave 100 per cent every time they hit the court and they always gave something a little bit extra even when fatigue set in,” Dalla Santa said.
“It was nothing different in the Grand Final. In the last five minutes the girls kept digging deep to get to that other level. They kept turning over the ball and pressuring to get the opportunities to score – we were unlucky not to sneak away with the win.”
Academy players are selected through open trials that take place in February and March each year when a squad is selected.
The squad trains once a month on Sunday, following the skills, fitness and netball theory program. From this all players are selected for one of the three divisions to participate in the Academy Games.
Port Augusta girls Teraleyha Coulthard, Lucy Janiak, Kaylanah Reid, Jenna Glamuzina, Phoebe Hunter, Elicia Amato, Gemma Broadwood, Zoe Maloney, Shaniqwa Stuart and Lauren Howell wore the dress proudly.
Their commitment and comradery was obvious, even to outsiders.
“It was always a comment by guests and by mentor coach Judy Greenwood that the bond that existed within the group was very strong,” Dalla Santa said.
“They were very supportive of each other as a group which obviously assisted with the on court mentality.”